Bacalhau com Natas (Cod in Cream Sauce)

Bacalhau com Natas
Bacalhau com Natas

This recipe complete with pictures is courtesy of Sami a Portuguese lady living in Australia! She had to drive 30kms to buy the bacalhau to make this recipe. Sami has a great blog called sami’s colourfulworld please “click” across and say hi!

Bacalhau com Natas Ingredients

500gr potatoes 500gr cooked and flaked bacalhau (Please see *note below)
3 onions sliced
a few cloves of garlic
25ml olive oil
100ml grated cheese or bread crumbs
250ml fresh cream
White Sauce
25gr butter,
25ml flour,
250ml milk,
5ml mustard,
salt and pepper,

*Presoak bacalhau
Cut up the bacalhau codfish, rinse it under water to take out the excess salt. Soak the fish in very cold or icy water, skin side up. Change waters three times a day. The next day it can be soaked in milk if desired or again in cold water. The milk makes the fish softer.

Bacalhau (salted codfish)
Bacalhau (salted codfish)

What the soaking process does is remove the salt and hydrate the fish, thus making it grow to its original size. Once this process is done, you can either cook it or you can freeze it to be cooked another time. Of course, skin and bones must be removed to make this dish.


Alternatively, you can buy Riberalves. This is bacalhau where the salt has already been removed. It is readily available in the freezer section of most supermarkets in Portugal. If bacalhau (salted cod) is not available you can use whatever white fish is available and just omit the soaking process. I think that even using just normal fish fillets this dish would be good. Boil the codfish and when cool, flake into large pieces.

Peel and slice the potatoes into cubes and boil them. (some people fry the potatoes, I prefer to boil them). Make the white sauce by melting the butter, adding the flour and stirring well and then whisking the milk until it´s all creamy . Add half the grated cheese, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Fry the sliced onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and golden. Remove from the heat, and add the codfish, potatoes and the white sauce to the onions and mix well. Pour the mixture into a ovenproof dish and pour the fresh cream over it.
Bake in the oven for 20-25mins
Bake in the oven for 20-25mins

Sprinkle remaining cheese over the mixture, or if you prefer you can use bread crumbs instead. Bake at 200ºC for about 20 minutes until bubbly and brown. Serve with a green salad.

Enjoy it!!


Related post: Bacalhau anyone?

Check out further Portuguese recipes at:


61 thoughts on “Bacalhau com Natas (Cod in Cream Sauce)

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  1. I’m making this. I’m Italian my husband is Portuguese I’ve made him the Italian way. Just one thing what kind of cheese do u use


  2. OK, 2 thoughts:
    Without meaning any discredit to the lady who cooked this: cream cod is made with fried potatoes. Period. Not fried to the point of being crispy, but fried nonetheless. In slices or cubes is the best choice.
    2: never, but NEVER think, for a moment, that this will be equally excellent with any white fish. The salting and drying gives the cod a very firm consistency (and special flavour) once it’s been desoaked. So cod is one thing, every other fish is another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi and welcome!
      I’m always wary of bacalhau when eating out because as you say some can be really salty.
      WE had BAcalhau once and it ws so salty we were still drinking gallons of water days slater as ur mouths were so dry!


  3. A word of warning, well for those that might not be in Portugal.
    I did this dish yet again, its all I cook when its my turn, lol.
    But in France some salt cod is pre- soaked. Not knowing this I soaked it, but lost most of it’s saltiness.
    I should have known as it was not the really dry salt cod, so looks like I have to cook it again next week on my day to cook.


  4. Hi PiP
    I get all of mine online , but at least I know what they should taste like.
    I have found this video site great
    Love of great videos.
    I usually post any cooking I do on my other blog, Mr Tomato King. and the name came form Portugal as they called me O Rei de tomates as I grew tomatoes near Setubal for 3 years.
    I will let you know when I experiment again, keep up the good work, I always need my Portuguese fix.


  5. Thanks for the recipe. I lived in Portugal way back in the 80’s and though it was about time I tried a few lovely Portuguese recipes on my partner.
    As she is an excellent cook I was a bit worried, but she loved it.
    Love the blog, brings back so many happy memories and I have featured it on my new blog.


  6. I love codfish in all its forms; salted, freeze dried and on. Yes, Robin, it is very popular in Nigeria and your family should have a few recipes to share with you.
    Nice recipe and post PIP! 🙂


    1. Actually, the only thing I get is a desire for yams (which we do not have) and the pepper and tomate sauce with meat on rice, which I will write about. If you have any receipes, E, feel free to shoot them my way – although I do know from another Nigerian woman here that even different tribes eat different foods! We did discover custard is a common food between our two cultures, so we can add that to the mix!


      1. Actually, I hate to tell you this – but we discovered that from looking at the picture of your custard!! Miss O 1 was not at all convinced it was custard, until I pointed out you were writing about the custard going wrong!


      1. I’ve presented you with a blog award over at my blog. I hope you’ll come by and accept it. You deserve an award for the warmth and friendship you share with me. 🙂


  7. Thanks for posting it Piglet, I will be cooking another batch in 2 weeks time for a celebration dinner for my son and husband (their birthdays are 1 day apart). xx


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